Hartke has long been a major bass amplification player. The mid 80s highlighted their use of the aluminium cone driver which began to pop up everywhere. Players such as Victor Wooten, Billy Sheehan, Marcus Miller, Will Lee and even Jaco himself use/have used their wares and with a solid line of amps and cabs they continue to produce top quality bass gear via an affiliation with Samson Technologies. Not forgetting the little guy, or smaller bass scenarios, they’ve recently reinvigorated their ‘Kickback’ combo range resulting in the new and improved KB12 Kickback Bass Combo.
LEAN ON ME
So the original Kickback 12 involved a single 12” speaker in a smallish combo shell, with the advantage that its angled back can be ‘kicked back’ for some added projection and sound on stage. De nitely handy if standing close to your amp to give yourself better monitoring rather than just having your sound hit you in the back of the ankles. With a modern revamp, the new KB12 combo still features a 12” speaker in that angled cabinet but the HyDrive speaker technology makes it lighter in weight and kicks in a massive 500 watts of power, making it a serious little beast. The front panel consists of volume, shape (with an in/ out switch), bass, midrange and treble controls, an XLR direct out and a headphone out.
Man these are beefy little amps! Seriously light in weight but big in power. As a significant rev up from the original Kickback models, these KB amps can handle anything from small rehearsals to loud gigs. Full and clear, the neodymium speakers sound quite warm and round and the basic 3 band EQ does a good job handling your essential tone. For those then wanting to experiment further, the classic Hartke ‘Shape’ settings can be engaged which applies a 20dB lter across a range of frequencies as you rotate the knob. This can help accentuate some extra low mids and bottom end or pronounce your mid range for added honkiness. Whatever your fix, there seems to be quite a range of scope whether you’re playing rock, blues, funk, pop, jazz or country.
LISTEN TO YOUR HART..KE
With quite a few brands marketing a small compact giggable combo, this revamp from Hartke really adds them into the mix. The power upgrade is seriously substantial, the, tones are good and the portability is great. The only slight want would be an extra out if you wanted to run an extension cab but hey, then you’re getting into bigger cab/rig territory anyway, which sort of defeats the purpose. Definitely an amp to look out for – the KB12 KickBack Combo.
Hits and Misses
Small, light, powerful
Plenty of EQ shaping
Kick Back is very handy in certain settings
No extension cab out